A proposed new ASTM International standard will link easy to use, cost-effective and nonintrusive passive sampling with concentration data to measure vapor intrusion. ASTM WK40037, Guide for Determining Concentration Values from Groundwater, Air and Soil Gas Using Adsorbent-Based, Passive Samplers, is being developed by Subcommittee D18.21 on Groundwater and Vadose Zone Investigations, part of ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock.
Vapor intrusion, the migration of gas-phase compounds from underlying soil into confined structures such as houses, schools and commercial buildings, is a potential health risk that has received increased attention from regulators over the past decade. Use of the proposed new standard, once it has been approved, will increase the possibility that health problems associated with vapor intrusion will be avoided.
“The materials or products covered by ASTM WK40037 are passive, adsorbent-based samplers,” says Lorne Everett, chief scientist, L. Everett and Associates LLC, and chairman of D18.21.02 on Vadose Zone Monitoring. “The samplers are most commonly used by environmental consultants and regulators and are deployed and retrieved by the user, then shipped to an off-site laboratory for analysis and data reporting.”
According to Everett, measurement of the sampling rate in air to determine gas-phase compound concentrations is well-documented in industrial hygiene literature. However, measuring such concentrations in soil gas and aqueous environments using a passive sampler, as described in ASTM WK40037, is less documented.
Everett notes that the objective of the proposed standard will be to demonstrate that a compound concentration in air, soil gas or water can be measured accurately, in a cost-effective manner, providing defensible quantitative data, which will be accepted by regulatory agencies.
“ASTM WK40037 will summarize the technical approach in a manner that a user with some scientific background can understand,” says Everett. He says that use of the proposed standard will increase the confidence of environmental consultants and regulators that concentrations reported with a passive sample are accurate and will thus broaden the acceptance of passive samplers.
The dynamic behavior of soil gases, according to Everett, is an emerging issue for vapor intrusion risk calculations. Continuous soil gas analysis, active soil gas sampling, barometric pressure influences and soil moisture variability are being addressed by D18.21.02.
All interested parties, particularly federal and state regulators, are encouraged to join in the standards developing activities of D18.21.
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ASTM Committee D18 Next Meeting: June 9-12, 2013, June Committee Week, Indianapolis, Ind.
Technical Contact: Lorne G. Everett, Ph.D., L. Everett and Associates, LLC, Santa Barbara, Calif., Phone: 805-880-9301; firstname.lastname@example.org
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April 23, 2013